Anthony's Film Review
The Hangover Part II (2011)
The second Hangover is still entertaining, even with a lack of new originality...
If you've read my review of the 2009 comedy film The Hangover, you'll recall that I included alcohol references as analogies to describe the movie. You could say that I laced that review with alcohol (pun intended, of course). Anyway, I say this because I want to begin my review of The Hangover Part II with another alcohol analogy.
You know how people who drink regularly can develop a tolerance to alcohol, so that its effects are not as strong as before? Or maybe the effects are just too familiar after habitual drinking? Well, watching The Hangover: Part II is very much like that. The beginning of the movie is practically a repeat of how the first Hangover movie starts. There's a wedding being set up, but the bride-to-be is upset that the groom is not around. Then there is a phone call from Phil (played by Bradley Cooper) admitting that he, Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zack Galifianakis) really screwed up before the wedding. After that, the movie goes back in time to tell the story of what happened before.
Given this feeling of familiarity, I feel I need to elaborate a bit more. Stu, who was married in the first Hangover movie but later ended his relationship with his wife, is the groom this time. (Doug, the groom from the first Hangover played by Justin Bartha, is in this movie, but he's totally clean here.) Stu's new fiance is a Thai woman named Lauren (Jamie Chung), and the wedding will take place in Thailand. Instead of the roof of a Las Vegas casino hotel as in the first movie, the drinking scene takes place at a beach campfire, and it involves the three guys plus Lauren's 16-year-old brother named Teddy (Mason Lee). As before, the movie fast-forwards after the drinking begins and fades into the location where the main characters wake up.
So here's the hangover scene. Phil, Alan, and Stu wake up in an unfamiliar hotel in Bangkok. I have to admit. The strange things they discover are not nearly as surprising as in the first movie. Alan's head is shaved, Stu wakes up in a bathtub with a tattoo on the side of his face, and the mysterious animal this time is a monkey (rather than a chicken or tiger like in the first Hangover). Also, the person that goes missing this time is Teddy. By the way, there's a chopped-off finger likely belonging to Teddy (a variation of Stu's missing tooth from the original Hangover), and Mr. Chow, the character played by Ken Jeong in the first Hangover, also wakes up in the same room.
Once again, Ken Jeong is naked when we first see him.
As before, Phil, Alan, and Stu go on a quest to find out what happened while they were drunk. The sense of familiarity definitely lingers in the plot. For one thing, the three guys recall details from their first hangover in Las Vegas and wonder if they also apply to this one. From there, the major situations in The Hangover: Part II parallel those in the original Hangover, even the very final scene before the closing credits. There are really only two examples of originality I can think of. One, there's a brief scene involving meditation with Buddhist monks, which actually jogs Alan's memory in a useful way. Two, Stu finds out he got involved with another woman, just like in the first Hangover, but the woman this time is... uh, well, not entirely feminine, if you know what I mean.
Obviously, I'm not rating The Hangover Part II as highly as its predecessor. At the same time, my rating here isn't all that much lower. I still found this to be an enjoyable comedy involving a wild and crazy adventure, even if I had seen almost this exact same movie already. It's basically a second drink that doesn't hit us as much as the first, but we haven't gotten so drunk on the same stuff that we pass out and can no longer feel its effects. With that said, I hope The Hangover Part III really gives us something different. When we get used to one substance, it might be a good time to try another.
For more information about The Hangover Part II, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of The Hangover and The Hangover Part III.